Photo taken on the beach in Chateaubelair, St. Vincent following the 1902 volcanic eruption.
Over the years we have heard tales in bits and pieces about the May 7, 1902 eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent. But how much do we really know about what is likely to have been one of the greatest natural disasters in our country’s recorded history?
Well, as the old English idiom goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and I will be hoping to unearth the missing narratives of this haunting and compelling saga, one “picture” at a time – with your help of course.
Described as an “explosive eruption” – one of only 3 that had occurred on the island since 1718 – and potentially the most catastrophic of them all, the 1902 eruption is believed to have claimed 1565 lives.
The devastating imprint of this eruption is believed to have been the result of heavy ash-fall, and pyroclastic flows and surges. It was also strangely followed by an eruption that destroyed the town of St. Piere – and all but a handful of its inhabitants – on the island of Martinique the very next day, May 8, 1902.
Most of the photographs in this album are confirmed to have been taken by Tempest Anderson (1846-1913) – a British surgeon turned photographer and volcanologist.